Thursday, July 31, 2008

Marte Sux, TD Does Not

I think I have seen enough of Andy Marte and I want to see more of TD. In case you missed yesterday's installment of "More Sports and Les Levine", the blog's own T did an amazing job filling in on the show as the host and talking Tribe. TD was comfortable and conversational and he and The Diatribe's Paul Cousineau did an excellent show. Too bad the Tribe could not celebrate the program by getting us a win. The 140 million dollar payrolled Tigers survive 13 innings to outlast the RWAB 14-12. Two teams with disgusting bullpens, one team with a disgusting third baseman. I've seen enough of Andy Marte. He cannot perform at this level. Period. End of story.

Marte is definitely good enough to be playing everyday in Buffalo and that is where he should be. Last night in the bottom of the 12th and a 1-0 count with the bases loaded and the infield mostly-in, Marte takes a 1-0 meatball against the great Casey Fossum and ground weakly to SS for an inning ending double-play. Nice Andy. All he had to do was a drive a ball to the outfield OR take a damn strike and work the count against a guy that had just walked two that inning. But he didn't and you want to know why? Because he is Andy Marte. He is not good enough. He wilts under pressure and he has 6 RBI in 118 at-bats. SIX!!!!

The decision should already be in. Next season the team needs to either move Jhonny Peralta or Josh Barfield to third base or they see what Wes Hodges can do and let him have some growing pains. Marte? Ship him to JP Richardi or some other sucker. Andy can be their problem.

EDIT FROM T - Thanks for the kind words from King Diesel. Ater last night's show, they handed me a DVD copy, but it wasn't in chapters, therefore I couldn't get the show up on youtube as their allow on 10 minute videos. The file format cannot be mainpulated by Windows Movie Maker, so I have put out the feelers to the people at Time Warner to email me the files in segments. I should be getting them early evening and the show will be posted as soon as I get the files.

In the meantime - Kelly Shoppach is a friggin beast. Ties the MLB record for most extr-base hits in a single game with five. Hits two jacks including that bomb to tie the game in the ninth off of Fernando Rodney. That bat flip on the Todd Jones Pizza was EPIC. Almost as epic as the fact that those pussy-cats from the D didn't throw the next pitch at Shop's head.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Watch Us Tonight

Just a reminder - tonight yours truly is hosting More Sports and Les Levine with the great Paul Cousineau of The Diatribe as my guest. We will be breaking down the Tribe, the trade deadline, blogging, and whatever else pops up. Channel 23 on Time Warner Cable.

I've been told it will be available on youtube tomorrow and we will post the embedded links on here as soon as we can.

Wish us luck....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bye Bye Birdie???

I was down at the Jake last night, and I have to say, my respect level for the Paul Byrd reached an all time high. When he left with two outs in the 8th, I was one of the 24,000 strong giving him a well deserved standing ovation. In what could have been his final start as a member of Wahoo Nation, the Byrd Man was brilliant, throwing 7 2/3 scoreless innings against the team with the second largest payroll in the game. The 5-0 win on a gorgeous night in C-Town was a ray of light in a season of clouds and rain.

Byrd did what he usually does, pound the strike zone. But since he tinkered with his windup three starts ago, he is 2-0, allowing just four earned runs in 19 innings and hasn't give up a home run, something he hadn't been able to avoid. He had allowed 11 in his previous seven starts.

Here is the bottom line, now is the time to say goodbye to the Byrd Man. His market value will not get any higher than it is right now. He seems to have righted himself and a pitching-starved contender like the Phillies, or maybe the Diamondbacks who are watching Micah Owings get lit up light a Christmas tree each outing could use a crafty, playoff tested pitcher like Byrd. Lets not forget that while C.C. and Fausto floundered against the Red Sox in the ALCS, Pauly won his start in a pivotal game four. Remember who started, and won the clincher against the Yankees in the Bronx? Paul Byrd. In 2005, he made three postseason starts for the Angels and in 2004 he made two for the Braves.

Even a mid-level prospect for Byrd would be a wise investment. It would clear some money and you never know with a prospect. Had any of you honestly heard of Coco Crisp when the Indians got him from the Cardinals for Chuck Finley? Losing Byrd would mean Aaron Laffey would step back into the rotation, no real loss there. Yes, Laffey has been struggling, but he is the future. Let him work it out with Carl Willis up here. He has been humbled with the recent demotion.

It's a no-brainer.

Reminder...tomorrow night at 6 PM on channel 23 Time Warner on the East Side and channel 17 on the west side, yours truly and Paul Cousineau from the Diatribe will be on More Sports and Les Levine.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Stealing...As if Our Name Was Kenny Lofton

Fellow Friends of the Feather were abuzz over our controversial statement comparing that the day Casey Blake was dealt to the birth of my son. People, please. It's called exaggeration for effect. Yes, we have been Casey's biggest critic for years and we were glad to see him go, but he was a good solider here during his tenure and will be missed...Just not by us.

Keith Law of made it sound as though the Tribe made off with quite the haul for Fakey Fake in snagging Catcher Carlos Santana and Jonathan Meloan: In total, it's a great return for Blake, who at most would have fetched two draft picks this offseason, and could have fetched just one, with the players selected with those picks much further from major league value than Santana and Meloan. When you consider that Cleveland signed Blake as a minor-league free agent on a one-year deal in 2003, received almost five years of big-league production and flipped him for two prospects, the ROI on the original deal must be off the charts.

More good news per Law regarding Meloan: Long term, he should be an above-average short reliever, maybe even an unconventional closer because he can miss so many bats in spite of the average velocity.

The same day Fake was dumped, another Tribe deal flew under the radar. GM Mark Shapiro acquired former pitching phenom Anthony Reyes from the St. Louis Cardinals from Minor League reliever Luis Perdomo. Local and national experts think this was a very smart move by Shappy. Don't forget that as recently as two years ago, Reyes was the #1 pitching prospect in the Cardinals system, who started Game 1 of the 2006 World Series. One of our compadres over at The Cleveland Fan, Tony Lastoria (who also runs a terrific Indians Minor League Blog) has some solid insight:

This could be one of those trades where the Indians are banking on a change of scenery helping Reyes. We all know what that did for Brandon Phillips when they traded him to Cincinnati, or for Jeremy Guthrie when he moved on to Baltimore, so there is obvious hope here the Indians are able to have some luck go their way for once. Plus, the Indians have had a lot of success recently with sinker-ballers like Fausto Carmona, Jake Westbrook, and Aaron Laffey, so it is possible some of that success could rub off on Reyes.

With Reyes, the Indians also acquired a player who should be under their control for at least another four years. Let's face it, the upper levels of the Indians system lacked anything that they could really rely on to help their starting pitching needs in the short term, specifically in 2009. Left-hander David Huff is the only pitcher who appears ready to help the team next year, and if right-hander Adam Miller can remain healthy or is not moved to the bullpen he is the only other option. Others like left-hander Scott Lewis, right-hander Frank Herrmann, right-hander Kevin Dixon, and left-hander Ryan Edell are all good depth options, but none of these pitches are ready to impact the Indians and become stalwarts in the rotation anytime soon, if ever.

On top of that, left-handers Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey have struggled this year. This is clearly an attempt to fill a starting pitching need next year and potentially beyond with a young pitcher who has loads of talent that has only been shown in spurts at the major league level. With how expensive pitching is in free agency - average pitching at that - taking a gamble on a guy like Reyes may not only be a gamble that pays off from a performance perspective, but from a cost-efficiency perspective as well.

As for losing a top guy relief prospect like Perdomo, Lastoria brings in the Blake trade, pointing out that when it comes being major-league ready, Meloan fills the loss of Perdomo in the Reyes trade, and is actually a much better relief prospect than Perdomo.

If you want a long, brilliantly written break-down of both trades, check out our friends at The Diatribe. A great take from their piece:

The real winner in the Blake deal, in the short term at least, is Andy Marte as NO even somewhat legitimate reason exists for him not to be in the everyday lineup. Unfortunately, with the number of games remaining being such a small percentage of the season, I’m not sure how much we’re going to learn about Marte or what numbers he would have to put up to stake a claim on 3B for himself.

If he goes out there and struggles, there’s no way they go into 2009 with him as the everyday 3B…because they could have done that back in May or June without much of a problem. If he thrives down the stretch (and by that I mean he would just have to crush everything to get back into good graces), I think he’d be an option at 3B for 2009 with no guarantee that his name would be written in permanent ink on a 2009 lineup card.

To a lesser degree, this trade benefits Ryan Garko as Gark has the opportunity now to salvage what looks like a lost season for him. His situation is different than Marte’s because of the body of work that he has already established in MLB (Garko has 979 MLB AB to Marte’s 378) and the fact that he has achieved some modicum of success prior to 2008 means that a solid final two months of the season could put Garko right back into the mix for 1B for 2009, whereas that ship may have already sailed for Marte. Of course, if Garko doesn’t turn it around to close out 2009, he could just be greasing his way out of the regular 1B spot for the coming years.

Both players will be given the opportunity to force their way into the plans for 2009 and beyond with Blake not taking AB away from anyone…that is, unless Michael Aubrey or Victor come to play some 1B or the Indians decide to see if Peralta can play 3B now instead of waiting for Winter Ball for a verdict.

Speaking of which, your pal T will be guest-hosting "More Sports and Les Levine" on Time Warner Cable (channel 23 on the East side, trying to find the channel for Akron/Canton and The West Side). Our guest will be Paul Cousineau, the man behind The Diatribe. King Diesel will also be making a phoned-in appearance to talk RWB baseball.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Top three days of my life:

1. February 28, 2007 - the day my son was born

2. April 6, 2008 - the day Kansas won the national championship getting me my first ring

3. July 26, 2008 - THE DAY CASEY BLAKE WAS TRADED!!!

The man I have hated and bashed for the last five years has finally been taken off our our hands. On right now, is this article: Dodgers send a pair of prospects to Indians for Blake. Seriously, I feel some movement in my shorts. The Tribe is getting A ball catcher Carlos Santana and AAA pitcher Jon Meloan. Meloan is a throw-in. Santana is hitting .323 with 14 home runs. He essentially replaces what Max Ramirez was in the organization, after he was dealt at the deadline last year for Kenny Lofton.

The Tribe could have received a pair of tube socks for Fake and I'd have been this giddy.

And so it ends, the Casey Blake era. Five years of this guy has been way more than enough. I have to give him credit though; this season he has been very solid at the plate and in the field. He has turned himself into a very hot commodity because of his versatility and likable personality. Nobody has anything bad to say about him as a teammate and person. Look at the stroke job by Dodgers GM Ned Colletti:

"Casey Blake is a gamer. His experience and character will be a plus as we head down the stretch in the final two months of the regular season."

I just can't believe my dream has become a reality. Truth is, I will miss having him as a whipping boy. It doesn't matter what he has done this year, when the team is in the tank and there is no pressure. I can never forgive him for his awful first pitch 5-4-3 double play in the 7th inning of game seven in Boston, followed by his brutal error which started the opening of the flood gates which led to the loss.

But today is not a day to look back. Its a day to look ahead to brighter days filled without #1 in Red, White, and Blue. To quote Bill Ray Valentine in Trading Places "What a happy day! What a happy day!"

Friday, July 25, 2008

14-2 For Cliff? Perez as a Closer?

What bizarro universe do we live in where Cliff Lee can go from a clubhouse cancer who gets sent to the minors one year, then goes 14-2 and is the all star game starting pitcher the next? Lee was dominant again in the 5-4 win, but it was almost blown by current and soon to be former Closer Masa Kobayashi.

Cliff's line: eight innings, two runs, six hits, and 10 K's.

Masa's line: ZERO innings, two runs, three hits.

Raffy Perez had to save the day and was magnificent. With the tying run at second and nobody out, he retired Mike Lamb, Brendan Harris, and Nick Punto in succession to get his first save of the year. Will he get the next shot at attempting to be the Tribe Closer?

I was in the car during the beginning of the 9th and Tom Hamilton was classic. He sounded so bitter after Morneau took Masa deep. Here was his quote "you can bet the first thing the Indians will do this offseason is shop for a closer." It was vintage Hammy. Sometimes I think he wants it more than the players do.

As for Masa. His stuff was flat tonight. That happens way too often for someone counted on to finish games. I've said it many times, give me a flame-thrower at the back end of my bullpen. We haven't seen anything but soft-tossers since Jose Mesa, aka the Devil.

Meanwhile, watching Tigers closer Todd Jones give up a two out, two run pizza in the ninth to Jermaine Dye to blow a huge game against the division leading White Sox was just as enjoyable as watching Perez's magic act. Somewhere in Vegas, King Diesel was smiling. Nobody despises the Tigers more.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Can This Dream Become a Reality?

Per the great Ken Rosenthal of Fox

Indians' Blake: The right alternative?

The Indians continue to draw significant interest in third baseman Casey Blake, whose defensive versatility makes him an alternative to Nady and the other available right-handed hitters.

The Rays are one of the teams pursuing Blake, though he is not an ideal fit. Blake, who turns 35 on Aug. 23, has not played the outfield regularly since 2006, and the Rays would use him mostly in right.

The Mets would have the same concern, and ideally they want more of a difference-maker than Blake. If they can't acquire a hitter as accomplished as, say, the Mariners' Raul Ibanez, they could turn to Class AA outfielder Fernando Martinez, who does not turn 20 until Oct. 10. Martinez, a left-handed hitter, might already be with the Mets if he hadn't missed six weeks with a hamstring injury.

One of the great days of my life is soon approaching...

West Coast Wrappers

What is going on here? The Wahoos go west and the ball keeps flyin' out of the yard. The Tribe has won 7 of its last 8 and last night beat up on the best team in the game the Angels with three bombs in a 5-2 win in Anaheim. Not sure what was more painful to watch, the Halos inability to get any hits with RISP or LA announcer Rory Markas (god awful).

Paul Byrd switched up his wind-up a bit and actually got into a nice groove going 5 and a third for the win. Raffy Perez had a huge night, bailing out the Byrd Maaaaaan in the 6th by getting noted RWAB killer Chone Figgins to ground into a 6-4-3 double-play to end the inning. It was a great scene in the dugout after the play with Byrdie going over and hugging Perez for having his back. I will say this about the Byrd Maaaaaan; he is a great teammate and one of the leaders of this squad. Win or lose he is a guy you want on the construction site.

As far as the bats go, our favorite whipping boy Casey Fake knocked a two run shot off of all star Ervin "Juelz" Santana (thanks for the text Seth). Jhon got into the act with a solo slice as did Andy Marte. That is now 16 homers for the boys in their last 17 games. Once again, though, Eric Wedge had Dave Dellucci in the lineup and I am not sure why? Ryan Garko has played ONCE since the all star break and Shin Soo-Choo is for 4 for his last 8- play those cats before DD.

Masatime in the ninth was enjoyable as he struck out the side with some nasty breaking stuff. I can't believe I stayed up for the whole game last night, but I did.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Why is This Man Still Playing?

....let alone hogging up a roster spot? Eric Wedge said the other day "We've got to get Dellucci going."


"Big Dave" played in two of the three games in Seattle this past weekend, DH'ing both times. Who needs to see a 34 year old DH who is hitting .225 and has ZERO future in this organization getting regular at-bats, which could be going to young guys like Ryan Garko, Franklin Guiterrez, or Asdrbual Cabrera?

GM Mark Shapiro tells us that the rest of the season is to evaluate the young players to see what we have for next year and beyond, yet Wedge still gives Dellucci regular AB's? It's bad enough he is soaking up an unwarranted roster spot and stealing an undeserving $4 million this year and next year (we'd have to put this deal ahead of the three year, $11.5 million contract given to Ricky Gutierrez and just behind the four year, $28 million deal given to Matt Lawton as Shapiro worst free-agent signings.)

The odds of the Tribe winning this series in Anaheim this week are about as good as the odds that Charlie Frye will once again be a starting QB in the NFL again one day. The Angels are the league's first 60-win team and the Wahoos send out Paul Byrd, Matt Ginter, and Aaron Laffey over the next three. Meanwhile, the Tribe has to see 11-3 All Star Ervin Santana, Jered Weaver, and one of the best pitchers in the AL in John Lackey. I'll be thrilled to take one out of three. At least Fausto Carmona should be back this weekend.

As long as Dellucci is on the bench, I'm all good....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

DCB Second Half Thoughts

As we all know by now, the Indians are sellers in the trade market (which by the way ends two weeks from today) and for all intents and purposes are out of contention in the AL Central. Or are they? Let's not get too excited. A four game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays has Eric Wedge's Grinders thinking positively heading into the second half of this disastrous 2008 campaign.

There have been some interesting Tribe takes in the past few days. The PD's Paul Hoynes gave his 10 suggestions to help repair this season. Captain obvious listed this one which we have been saying all year:

4. Make a decision: The Indians had an entire first half to find out if Andy Marte could play and wasted it. After trading Sabathia and retiring as a contender, Marte finally started to get some playing time at third base, but only because Ryan Garko was so far in that tank that Wedge was forced to move Casey Blake to first base.

What took so long?

It's time to play Marte and see what he can do. If he doesn't do it in the second half, then the Indians can part company with him and have a clear conscience.

The great Terry Pluto brilliantly broke down exactly how it all went wrong for the 08 Tribe. More of my favorite subjects came in this column. Including this nugget:

.000: That's Dave Dellucci (0-of-10) vs. lefties. For his career, it's .204. Since coming to the Indians, he is a .230 hitter with 12 HR, 50 RBI in 399 at bats. He has a horrible arm in left field and is 34 years old. Why is he playing when the Indians have young outfielders such as Shin-Soo Choo, Ben Francisco and Gutierrez during this lost season? And to think they have Dellucci under control through 2009.

The best sports blog in the business, The Big Lead, gave their second half American League predictions yesterday and said:

*The Indians finish less than six games out in the Central, prompting many to wonder what might have been with Sabathia.

CBS Sportsline's lead Baseball writer Scott Miller wrote about each team and gave his Midseason Report Card. The Tribe received a"D."

The combination of disappointing seasons and injuries to core players doomed the Indians early. In hindsight, it has been downhill since the discovery of Paul Byrd purchasing Human Growth Hormone before game 7 of the ALCS last October. Nothing has gone well since.

We found another interesting bunch of takes from the Columbus Post Dispatch's Rob Oller, who says the Indians should tinker, what do they have to lose? In addition to the usual "give Marte a full time shot at third" and "move Grady Sizemore down to third in the lineup," this take is right on target:

Move sure-handed Astrubal Cabrera from second base to shortstop. Jhonny Peralta's recent improvement at the plate makes him a nice trade option; maybe the Tribe could find itself a reliable closer?

Yes, the first half was a nightmare. Yes, they are out of it. But that only means Shappy and his boys have ample time to evaluate. This is the last chance for guys like Franklin Gutierrez and Ryan Garko. Here is what I would do:

1. First things first - DUMP CASEY BLAKE. His value will never be higher than it is now. He's been a good solider and deserves to be dealt to a contender to be a jack of all trades guy.

2. With Peralta heating up, he should spend time at DH for now (see #3).

3. Bring up AC and play him at SS. Let Marte play 3B every day, giving him enough rope to hang himself. Once they see (which we all know already) that he isn't an everyday major leaguer, you start the transition of Peralta at 3B.

4. While this is going on, Garko mans 1B and given a shot to show more pop. You've got guys like Aubrey, Jordan Brown, Stephen Head, and Matt Laporta all waiting to take their shots at 1B. If he fails, you've got plenty of other options next Spring. Turning Victor Martinez into the regular 1B next year isn't that far out of the question. Kelly Shoppach has shown he can handle being the everyday starter behind the dish.

5. Designate David Dellucci for assignment. Why is he still here getting at bats? These AB"s should be spilt between the three young OF's - Gutierrez, Shin-Soo Choo, and Ben Francisco. The corner OF spots should be rotated between the three, with Francisco getting preferential treatment.

6. See if Masa Kobayashi can be the full time closer. If it fails, so be it. Move on to the next guy, Rafael Perez.

7. Find someone, anyone, who can pitch in the 7th and 8th innings not named Perez. I figured it would be Jensen Lewis, but he can't seem to regain last year's form. Eddie Mujica has been decent of late, but I'm still not sold. Who knows what is wrong with Rafael Betancourt. I'd like to see Jeff Stevens or Randy Newsom up here at some point, though Stevens has been named to the Olympic team.

and that is that.....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sweeping Into the Break

Just when you think you have figured this team out, they go out and sweep four straight from the team with the best record in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays. And how they did it was just as strange. The Gang that can't hit straight outscored the Rays 31-8. They won games started by Matt Ginter and Jeremy Sowers. Sunday's victory featured five perfect innings by Tribe relievers Tom Mastny, Eddie Mujica, Rafael Perez, and Masa Kobayashi. The Nasty One got the W, his first of the season. We have officially seen it all now - Andy Marte hit a solo pizza over the high wall in Left, his first jack since April of 2007. Marte, who started all four games in the series, claims now he is getting in a groove and "it's nice to get my timing back."

So the boys go into the break on a high note, winners of four in a row directly after losing 10 in a row. That is the good news. The bad news is that Jeremy Sowers and Matt Ginter are still in the rotation. We feel more for Ginter these days than Sowers, who continues to show us nothing. Yesterday he walked SEVEN in four innings. That is not what you want from a so-called "finesse" pitcher. I don't care that he K'd a season high eight, because that brings his season total to 26. He nibbles on the corners and when he does challenge guys, he gets lit up. I've ripped him enough at this point. The bottom line is he is not worthy of a rotation spot.

However, it was nice to see the pen step it up (for once). Mujica has been solid of late. He hasn't allowed a run in his last 7 2/3 innings pitched (seven appearances). Mastny woke up from the dead with two perfect innings which were a much needed bridge to Mujica and Perez. It was Masa time in the ninth. The pen is obviously a work in progress. Who knows what is wrong with Rafael Betancourt these days, Jensen Lewis is up and down, and Juan Rincon is fresh from Buffalo after the Twins dropped him for being so ineffective.

Offensively, you never know what is going on from day to day. After scoring 31 runs in four games, they could easily score five in the next four. Benny Francisco and Jhonny Peralta are scorching hot going into the break. Peralta has taken to the cleanup spot, hitting .353 with five Homers and 23 RBI over the last month. Benny has raised his average .22 points in the last nine days and sits at .294. Casey Blake has been playing himself into prime trading position. Coming off a .366 month of June, Fake is hitting .300 in July, playing both First and Third.

The second half starts in Seattle, the worst team in the American League. Now, I'm not saying they Indians have any shot, but wouldn't it be nice if they continued this little run they are on and showed more life? As King Diesel said, Eric Wedge deserves credit for keeping this team together. One thing you can't complain about as fans is the lack of effort with this bunch. Lack of talent, maybe, but not lack of effort. That is not on Wedge or the players.

That is on the front office.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Who You Gonna Call? Matty Ginter

Good Lord.

The Tribe has all of the sudden risen up from the dead and taken three in a row.. YES.. THREE in a row from MLB's top team, Tampa Bay. Tonight, the RWAB had every reason to throw this game away because journeyman Matt Ginter was getting an emergency start and recalled from Buffalo where he was 6-6 with an earnie of 4.14. The man had not won a big league start since 2004, yet here he was mowing down the all-of-the-sudden weak hitting Rays for five scoreless. Tribe gets a rare show of "Ryan's Hope" as Garko homers, doubles and drives in five. Indians 8 Rays 4. I am speechless.

I actually hit up Warren B. tonight on a text and asked him what would happen if the Wahoos went on a Houston Rockets/Colorado Rockies type run and somehow got back in it? Highly unlikely, but I cannot give up on this team. It is an addiction. The season IS done and to his credit, Eric Wedge is thee only one who doesn't believe that theory. Bill Livingston should step back from his Nachos Bell Grande for a second and maybe pen a column propping up Wedge for at least keeping this ship afloat. Yes they have had their meltdowns and yes they are playing the likes of Jamey Carroll and Kelly Shoppach daily, but give the skipper some credit. They don't quit. They don't make excuses (well at least not all of them) and they "grind". Watch the Tigers and their 140 million dollar payroll for a week straight and you won't see much grinding. If Jerry Sowers is masterful tomorrow, then something IS really wrong with Dave Wills' Rays.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

This Headline Gives Me a Partial

Have you ever seen something so good? We haven't had a smile this big since the clock hit 0:00 in San Antonio the evening of April 7th.

Eight Men Out

You know what the funny thing is, its probably going to get worse! As each passing day flies by, GM Mark Shapiro's talent evaluations going into 2008 (hello David Dellucci and Jason Michaels in Left!) look worse and worse. Let us for once, not dwell on the pathetic offense we've watched all year (two runs on two hits last night, both in the first-inning). Remember at the beginning of the year when we heard all about the eight-man rotation and the best bullpen in baseball? Lets examine where we are today:

The "Eight -Man" Rotation

CC Sabathia - traded to Milwaukee. Started poorly and then came back into Cy Young form, with an ERA just over 2.00 since April 22. Never to be seen in an Indians uniform again.

Fausto Carmona - A 4-2 start was marred by a control problem (1.59 WHIP) and has been on the DL since May 25th with a hip injury. Should be back after the All-Star break.

Jake Westbrook - The rock of the rotation, beginning the first year of his three-year, $33 million extension, blew out his elbow and is out until next August after having Tommy John Surgery.

Paul Byrd - The master of control and not walking anyone, leads the Majors in Home Runs allowed (23), is 3-10 overall and was horrific in June, going 1-5 with a 7.47 ERA. Would be bounced from the rotation or even released if the Indians had any other options.

Cliff Lee - Who saw this one coming? 11-2, 2.43 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 99 K's to 19 walks? Looks like the All-Star game starter for the AL. Imagine how bad this rotation would be without the man we once referred to as"Stiff Lee."

Aaron Laffey - The 23 year old is a keeper. Looks even better than his solid 2007 finish where he saved the rotation when Lee melted down. Deserves better than his 4-5 record (3.45 ERA). Will be your #3 guy in '09.

Jeremy Sowers - The former #6 overall pick is the only Indians first-round pick in the last 10 years on the roster. Not that he deserves to be. With all of the injuries to the rotation, Sowers got his chance and has failed miserably. In eight starts, he is 0-5 with a 7.81 ERA. He doesn't strike anyone out (18 in 40 innings), gives up jacks (10), and loves putting guys on base (1.86 WHIP). In short, a soft-tosser with no command who looks 4A.

Adam Miller - The Indians top Pitching prospect, dubbed "Atom" Miller by our friends at The DiaTribe, continues to battle the injury bug. This time, it's a finger injury that has him out for the year and has ruined yet another year of development. No doubt he'd have been up by now, either in the bullpen or in the rotation, leading with his trademark 97 MPH heater.


So on July 9th, the rotation has a finished Byrd, a guy who shouldn't be in the majors in Sowers, a re-tread to be figured out at some point in the next day or two (looks like Matt Ginter - yikes), Laffey, and Lee. CC is gone. Fausto is DL'd, Jake is out for over a year, and Miller is out for the year. No team can overcome this, especially when your bullpen is currently ranked dead last in the AL and the offense puts the "P" in putrid.


And what about that bullpen? It currently sports such 4A specials as Edward Mujica, Brian Slocum, and Tom "Nasty" Mastny. It's been a revolving door of such winners as Rick Bauer, Craig Breslow, and Jorge Julio. Joe Borowski, aka Jo-Blow, has been rightfully dumped after showing us his 83 MPH fastball on a regular basis, and they wondered why he couldn't get the job done again this year. They tried Rafael Betancourt as a closer - didn't work. Masa Kobayashi has been given his shot, after his previous stint earlier this year failed (remember the Adam Dunn walkoff jack in Cincinnati that still hasn't landed?).

Jensen Lewis has been on the Buffalo shuttle since losing his velocity from a year ago. Betancourt, the most dominant set-up man in baseball a year ago, has been a shell of himself, posting an ERA of 5.67, walking 12, and allowing seven HR's in 39.2 IP. Last year, he walked just nine and allowed just three HR's in 79.1 IP. Lefty Rafael Perez has been OK, but far from the spectacular work we saw in '07.

The one constant is inconsistency with this group. More good news, its probably only going to get worse. It's going to be one long summer in C-Town.

Monday, July 7, 2008

From Can't Miss to .150

Everyone seems to be extremely jacked over the prospect Matt Laporta, who looks like he is a can't miss guy? But you know who else was once a can't miss kid? Our very own Andy ".150" Marte. Don't believe me? Check out this amazing find by our own King Diesel, who came across this beauty from December 8, 2005, the day Marte was acquired by the Red Sox for Edgar Renteria:

DALLAS -- The Boston Red Sox gave up on Edgar Renteria just one year after lavishing a four-year, $40 million contract on him, trading the shortstop to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday for third base prospect Andy Marte.

The move left Boston without a shortstop, but Red Sox senior adviser Bill Lajoie denied a much-rumored deal that would wheel Marte to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Julio Lugo. Lajoie said he expected to see Marte play for the Red Sox this year, putting him in the outfield or first base if it's necessary to get his bat in the lineup.

"We want to keep that player. ... He's ready to have a good year," said Lajoie, one of four Boston executives at the winter meetings in the absence of a general manager. "He would be one of the five players you would want to start a ballclub with."

Do you believe what you just read? Because I know I didn't when the Deez sent it my way. Lets hope Laporta isn't another Marte....

Send In The Clowns

After watching todays Mark Shapiro press conference, I came away with one image. Kevin Keane is a total knob. What on earth was that today? Here is the Indians GM having to face the media on the day he just traded the club's best pitcher since Bob Feller and the poor guy is being questioned by a rambling-foaming at the mouth-pea brained- tool. Keane of AM 1100 WTAM went into a diatribe about his talk-show callers and even phrased the Tribe as "we" at one point.

Spies tell DCB that Keane was wearing an Indians hat as he asked the questions. Seriously! What reporter shows up to a major presser wearing that team's swag? Keane wanted to know about the "emotional" side of the trade and how Shapiro should explain to the fans about "losing one of their own". You could tell Shapiro had no answer to what were two very ridiculous and poorly worded questions. Heck, were they even questions? This comes from a guy (Keane) who places "hot chicks of the day" on his webpage; I need folks' comments on this. Do you agree?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

See-Ya C.C.

It's a sad day in Cleveland. A boy we watched grow into a man before our very eyes has now, like all other home-grown Indians, has now moved on. In a deal that seemingly has been finalized, C.C. Sabathia is now a Milwaukee Brewer. Coming over to the Tribe is the gem of the Brewer farm system, AA Power-hitting OF Matt Laporta, who is hitting .288 with 20 HR's, and 66 RBI in 81 games. Supposedly two others are involved as well, but at this time the details are sketchy.

We will have much more on this story later and tomorrow.

Brewers, Indians, agree on Sabathia - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal

Friday, July 4, 2008

Later Loser

Happy July 4th to every one...... Nice parting gift from Joe Blow....a final blown save....He has finally been designated for assignment and we have been put out of our misery.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Enough With Joe-Blow

Haven't we seen enough of this guy by now? I mean seriously, did the Tribe brass really think a career journeyman who had 45 saves last year where the majority of them were done with smoke and mirrors was going to repeat that? I know I didn't. Yet it seemed OK coming into 2008...or did it?

Joe Borowski is finished. Has been since the day he set foot onto the field in April. Did we not see him topping out at 82-83 MPH? True story - I was at the Red Sox/Indians game on April 14th. The Tribe took a 4-3 lead into the ninth and before the inning started, I said to the person I was with "we are outta here after the bottom of the eighth." He looked startled and asked why we would do something like that. My response was simple: "do you really want to be here when Borowski blows it? I know I don't." Sure enough, Julio Lugo led off with a double, Coco Crisp bunted him to third, Dustin Pedroia sac fly'd Lugo home, David Ortiz singled, and of course Manny Ramirez hit one that still hasn't landed yet for the Sox 6-4 lead. Kevin Youkilis then doubled before Joe-Blow was put out of his misery by Eric Wedge.

What struck me that night was not that he blew the game, as was expected. Rather, it was something Tom Hamilton said as the 9th inning dragged. He mentioned from the first pitch that "something clearly isn't right with Borowski." Then noticed he wasn't hitting more than 82-83 on his fastball. That's just not going to cut it for a long reliever, let alone your supposed closer. Yet, the Indians trotted him out there to close a game, knowing he had nothing, against the team that stole their World Series title from them less than a year ago.

So they put Joe-Blow on the DL a day later with and elbow injury. The thinking from all sides, except for the Indians brass of course, was that Borowski was finally done, at least done closing for that matter. Nah...not our with our Tribe! On May 23rd, he was activated and put right back into the closer's role. Not that it has mattered much.

Last night was a prime example. The Wahoos were desperate for a W, any kind of W. Our boy Casey Fake (who by the way is having a very nice season and should attract a bunch of trade offers) hits a solo pizza in the 10th to break a 1-1 tie (how about those Tribe bats!) and Wedge again turns it over to his closer, who was hitting a whopping 86 on the gun. I bet you can't guess what happened? Yep, with two outs, he gave up a solo shot to Alexei Ramirez (not exactly Jim Thome), a single to pinch-hitting great (ha ha) Dewayne Wise, who then promptly steals second, and "closes" it off by giving up a game-winning RBI single to Orlando Cabrera. Tribe loses 3-2.

Not like Joe-Blow had to face Jermaine Dye, Jim Thome, and Joe Crede! He was handed a one run lead and the bottom of the order and couldn't deliver. What is the friggin point in trotting this old man out there any longer? The season is over. There is no closer in 2009. So lets see if we can invent one over the last three months. As John Hart used to say "closers grow on trees." Bring up Jeff Stevens from AAA and hand him the job. See what he can do. Or why not try it with Jensen Lewis (why is he still in Buffalo while Edward "4A" Mujica and Rick Bauer are still up here?). What about Akron closer Randy Newsom? Dude is 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA 24 saves.

Try anything, but please, Shappy, for the love of your loyal fans like myself, enough with Borowski. And while your at it, same thing goes for David Dellucci, Andy Marte, and Jorge Velandia.